The sixty-three political prisoners on the Hougoumont were the first lot that had been sent to Australia since the Irish uprising of 1848, nor have any others been sent since her voyage. Of these prisoners some fifteen had been soldiers and were, therefore, classed and placed among the criminals. This would have been a greater hardship but for the fact that some of the soldiers in the ship's guard belonged to regiments in which certain of the prisoners had served, and, with comrade sympathy, alleviated their lot as far as possible.
All but one or two of the guards were friendly to the ex-soldiers, who were allowed to occupy the quarters of the political prisoners by day, but forced to pass the night with the criminals in the forepart of the ship. O'Reilly was made an exception, through the good-nature of the guards, who always allowed him, though against the rules, to sling his hammock in the compartment on the lower deck below the cabin, where the political prisoners slept. He received many kindnesses also from the ship's chaplain. Father Delaney, who furnished the paper and writing materials for a remarkable periodical entitled "The Wild Goose." The name had a significance for Irishmen. The soldiers of Sarsfield, who took service in the French and other foreign armies on the failure of their country's effort for liberty, were called "The Wild Geese." Many a sad or stirring song has told the story of their exile, and their valor. "The Wild Goose" was edited by John Boyle O'Reilly, John Flood, Denis B. Cashman, and J. Edward O' Kelly. It was a weekly publication, Mr. Cashman writing the ornamental heading entwined with shamrocks, and the various sub-heads, as well as contributing to its contents. Saturday was publishing day. On Sunday afternoon O'Reilly read it aloud to his comrades as they sat around their berths below decks. In its columns first appeared his stirring narrative poem, "The Flying Dutchman," written off the Cape of Good Hope. "We pub